Opelika’s historic Ward Funeral Home demolished last week

Photo by Robert Noles/Opelika Observer

By Morgan Bryce

Opelika’s historic Ward Funeral Home was torn down last Wednesday, marking the end of a structure that had been in existence for nearly 150 years.
Amidst pleas from property owner Maurice Ward at an Oct. 1 Opelika City Council meeting, the council voted unanimously to approve a bid from AAA General Contractors Inc. to demolish the home. That decision came after three previous discussions of demolishing the home during the last eight years and granting Ward time needed to begin restoring the home, which had been abandoned for nearly 30 years.
More than 60 comments were left on an Observer Facebook post last week about the home’s demolition, which saw mixed emotions from users.
Some, including Kelly Broom Cox, favored the demolition, saying that she was “so glad the city is committed to cleaning up!”
Others, like Bill Mount, saw the home’s demolition as the loss of yet another structure of historical significance to the city.
“Sad day (for Opelika). What a beautiful old place,” Mount said.
According to the few records that exist pertaining to the structure’s history, the house was built in 1870 and originally lived in by Dr. Eugene Lindsey and his wife.
Lindsey, an African American physician from LaGrange, owned and operated Lindsey’s Drugstore and Soda Fountain on Ninth Street, one of the few places where black citizens could sit and socialize while waiting for their prescriptions to be filled. He was contemporaries with Drs. W.F. Clark, James W. Darden and Frank Steele.
Later, the structure was turned into a funeral home, which it was best known for housing.
The Ward family still operates a funeral home which serves the Valley area.
The Observer attempted to reach out to Ward and his family for more information about the home’s history and significance, but declined to comment for this article.


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